Authorities have released the cause of death for Damon Volunteer Fire Chief Hugh Ferguson.
An autopsy revealed he died of natural causes, according to the medical examiner’s office.
Officials said atherosclerotic and hypertensive cardio vascular disease and complications from diabetes and obesity played a role in Ferguson’s death.
The Brazoria County fire marshal said volunteer firefighters responded to a fire at a house on Commerce and Woodward streets in Damon late Monday night.
The house was vacant, but threatened to spread to others nearby. Chief Hugh Ferguson was helping his volunteers deploy a second 4-inch hose when he collapsed in the middle of the street.
"They went right into action without any hesitation to revive the fire chief," said Brazoria County Fire Marshal Martin Vela.
Fellow firefighters rushed to administer CPR. Ferguson was flown to Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Texas Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
"I'm somewhat lost for words because I can't fathom, even though I haven't seen the chief in a while. It doesn't make it any easier," said firefighter Roger Partain.
Speaking for the Ferguson family, Wendy Morris with the Line of Duty Death Task Force said, “The community was everything to him.”
Ferguson was a husband and father of two sons who served on the Damon VFD with him.
The Ferguson family released a home video showing the chief cheering on his 4-year-old grandson determinedly rolling up a heavy fire hose.
Ferguson joined the department at age 16, and served as chief for the last 24 years. He was also a member of the Damon ISD School Board and a lifelong PTA member.
"An incident like this is really devastating to this very small community," said Vela.
"He'll constantly be talked about. We'll constantly have laughter and memories good memories of Bubba," Partain said.
The flag in front of the Damon Post Office was flying at half-staff. Ferguson death hit this small community of just over 500 residents hard.
“Everyone is taking it bad,” Anita Foraker said. “My dad really knew him good and my mom also. They're just heart broken.”
Dave Mace, who owns the local auto body shop, served with Ferguson as a volunteer fireman in the late 1990s.
“I was in shock. I was just shocked you know,” Mace said Tuesday. “The last person I'd expect to pass away on a call like that would be the fire chief to pass away on a call like that. I was just 'wow.'”
Donations are being accepted to The 100 Club Survivors Fund, which provides benefits to the dependents of firefighters and law enforcement officers who lose their life in the line of duty.
Contributions are being accepted at:
100 Club Survivors Fund
5555 San Felipe, Suite 1750
Houston, TX 77056
Or at The 100 Club website.